Until just over a century ago, the famous clipper ships and other vessels launched from American shipyards were not designed on paper. Their shipwrights normally used a half model – an extremely accurate, painstakingly crafted model of half of the ship’s hull. These half models were often elaborately pinned together, so that they could be taken apart and traced to reveal the ship’s lines.
The original half models of famous ships are now priceless antiques, especially if fitted with details and mounted for wall display. Many can be seen in museums around the world.
Liberty Carvings has three classical half models in production: the Yacht America in a 30″ length, a Gloucester fishing schooner in 36″ length, and the extreme clipper ship Sovereign of the Seas in 48″ length. These are solid wood models, laminated of contrasting woods, with fine carved details, such as the mermaid figurehead on the clipper ship. The models are scaled and are accurate to the original designs of these well-known ships.
Our models are mounted on wide boards for wall display, and are normally supplied finished in part paint and part varnish, or per your specifications.
Fishing Schooner half-model
The Gloucester fishing schooners were perhaps the last working sailboats on the American East Coast to survive the coming of steam. Superbly designed even past the turn of the century for economy, speed, and seaworthiness, they would sail from the Massachusetts coast, spend several days dory-fishing for cod and halibut on the Grand Banks offshore, and then dash to their market with a load of fresh fish on ice.
The schooner rig allowed these boats to be sailed by a very small crew, and their ability to make port safely in the teeth of a blistering northeaster winter storm is legendary.
|Item||Model size||Frame size||Price in US dollars|
|Fishing Schooner half-model||36″ model length||48″ overall||$400|
Yacht America half-model
Well-known American pilot-schooner designer George Steers designed the yacht ‘America’ in 1851. The following year she soundly beat a fleet of English yachts in a challenge race, and brought home to New York the silver cup which has come to be known as the America’s Cup.
America’s Cup challenges continued through the Victorian age, culminating in match races between the huge and very expensive J-boats. Following WWII, the racing was re-established with size limited to the 12-meter class.
The America’s Cup continues to be one of the world’s premier sailboat racing challenges, with teams from many countries now competing. Many of the races and trials continue to be held in the waters of the open Atlantic Ocean off Jamestown and Newport, RI.
|Yacht America half-model||30″ model length||42″ overall|
Sovereign of the Seas half-model
The American clipper ships, as a class, were the largest and fastest sailing ships ever built. Although supplanted after only a few decades of evolution by steel-hulled steamships, these majestic wooden vessels will always be remembered with awe by those who love sailing and the sea.
“Sovereign of the Seas,” build by the Donald McKay shipyard in New York in 1858, was an outstanding example of these famous ships. She produced several speed and distance records.
|Sovereign of the Seas half-model||48″ model length||60″ overall|